In Costa Mesa, the City Council is pursuing an agenda of financial reform, and at the center of that reform is a proposed charter for the city.

The document, which was drafted by Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer, was designed to allow the city’s voters to read it, suggest changes, and approve the charter during a June election. The accelerated timeline was necessitated by the hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential savings for the city. Councilman Righeimer told PublicCEO Editor Dan Oney in an interview that the city could save $50,000 per month in the jails alone.

However, it is important to note that there are other ways that a city can establish a charter. One option would be a charter commission. With a commission based system, fifteen members of the community and stakeholder groups would be elected to write a draft charter. The charter would then to go the Council to decide whether or not it should appear on a ballot. From there, the residents would vote to approve or reject the measure.

Another method would be through a voter-led initiative, where a group creates a charter, petitions to have it placed on the ballot, and its then voted upon.

Citing the challenges of other municipalities Righeimer says that the commission simply drags its feet, allows too many special interests to weaken reforms, and costs the charter some of its potential effectiveness.

From the Voice of the OC:

It’s not yet clear whether Costa Mesa residents want to adopt a city charter, the latest effort by the City Council majority to remake the city’s government largely through outsourcing.

But some residents are nervous about the Republican council majority’s plan to put a proposed charter on the June ballot after just six months and two public hearings. And there have been calls for placing a citizens committee in charge of drafting the document.

The council majority, meanwhile, is pushing to keep the process moving quickly and does not want a charter committee out of a concern that local unions, which oppose the main provisions of the council’s proposed charter, would gain control over such a committee and stop the process.

Read the full article here.